Wurundjeri woman Kim Hunter

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Photo: Wurundjeri woman Kim Hunter

Austin Health applauded for caring for Country

Last week, Austin Health signed an Ethical Paper pledge to help protect Victoria's native forests.

These forests grow on the lands of the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung, Gunaikurnai, Taungurung, and Wurundjeri people. They're also home to some of Victoria's most critically-endangered animals, yet continue to be logged, mostly to produce paper.

Now, the preferred white A4 copy paper to appear when staff order stationery is Nallawilli 100 per cent recycled paper - paper which is not only better for the environment, but also Supply Nation certified.

Using Nallawilli paper supports the Nallawilli Foundation, which uses these funds to improve the quality of life and influence real outcomes for First Nation people, communities and businesses. Increasing procurement from Supply Nation-certified businesses is a commitment in our Reconciliation Action Plan

Proud Wurundjeri woman and Austin Health patient, Kim Hunter, applauds Austin Health for signing the pledge, which she says will help to reduce the impact of logging in native forests. She lives on Country near Toolangi Forest, where she also works as an Indigenous ranger, and volunteers for Help for Wildlife, rescuing and rehabilitating injured wildlife.

"I hate logging, and up in our area it's all for pulp, to make paper products. We just relocated 450 koalas from French Island into a protected area of forest, and then a couple of hundred metres up the road, they've opened up an area for logging," says Kim.

"I love wildlife, and particularly the koalas, they're my favourite. I recently drove three hours to pick up an injured koala from close to Wilson's Prom."

In fact, one of Kim's admissions to Austin Hospital was after she hit a deer while driving at night to pick up an injured koala.

"I broke my neck, my c5, 6 and 7 vertebrae and was in hospital for weeks."

Besides koalas, Toolangi is home to the critically endangered greater glider and Leadbeater's possum.

The staff member behind the push is surgical registrar, Dr. Xavier Harvey.

"Signing the ethical paper pledge is an important first step, and I'm really happy about it," says Xavier.

Cath Bradley, team leader of the Ngarra Jarra Aboriginal Health program, is another who is thrilled by Xavier's work.

"I was bowled over when Xavier contacted Ngarra Jarra. We knew Xavier as a champion of Aboriginal Health and someone who was passionate about health, social and environmental justice issues. What we didn't know was the extent of his energy, drive and determination to bring about positive change," Cath says.

"It was amazing that Kim Hunter, a respected and proud Wurundjeri woman was at the hospital at the time the ethical paper pledge was signed. It meant so much that we could celebrate this achievement with her. Kim's passion and long history in caring for wildlife and forest and for bringing joy to sick children is truly inspirational," Cath says.

"It's so heartening to see someone who's is living on and caring for country. So many of our patents have been taken or their parents taken from their country."

Toolangi and Austin Health are on the land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation.

Kim is pictured in front of the Forest Walk in the level 3 corridor between the Lance Townsend Building and Austin Tower at Austin Hospital. The installation features a photograph of the Toolangi Forest.

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